A child’s brain triples in size in the first two years and grows to 90% of the adult size during the first 5 years of life1 It is fascinating to watch a child transform from a helpless bundle of joy, who needs all the care and attention in the world, to a little dynamo well capable of meeting his developmental milestones.
A million thoughts goes through a mum’s mind each day. She is constantly pondering over how to make her child smarter, healthier, happier, stronger, better-behaved and everything else under the sun.
While the development of a child is multi-faceted and parents have a huge task ahead of them in preparing their child for tomorrow, one area of focus is nutrition.
It has been observed that early nutrition influences both short-term and long-term health of the child. Nutrients like DHA, iron and choline have long been touted to be part of the combination of nutrients vital for a child’s mental and physical development.
Recently, there has been a breakthrough in children’s nutrition. A major component has been identified. It is called the Milk Fat Globule Membrane (MFGM), which is naturally present in milk.
The name might sound a bit complex, but don’t let that put you off from unravelling the goodness of this revolutionary component. Here are 5 things that you should know about MFGM:
- What is MFGM
Milk Fat Globule Membrane (MFGM) is a nutrient-rich component that represents an important fraction of milk. It is a three-layered membrane, composed of complex lipids and bioactive proteins that surrounds fat globules in the milk2,3.
- MFGM, a nutrient your child needs
During the child’s first three years of life, about 1,000 trillion brain cell connections are formed through the experiences the child encounters; everything your child learn is stored in this brain cell network4. Just like DHA, MFGM lipid components are abundantly found in the brain. Complex lipids present in MFGM, like gangliosides and sphingomyelin, are important for brain structure and function5,6.
- MFGM and immunity
MFGM has also been clinically demonstrated to have positive effects on the immune system. In one study, the consumption of MFGM enriched milk by young children was shown to have a protective effect against gastrointestinal infections, producing a significant decrease in the number of short febrile episodes7. To put simply, they enhance immunity and build up the body’s defense against infections.
- MFGM works synergistically with DHA
Today’s parents must prepare their children to be “future ready”, to thrive in a world that is volatile and constantly changing. Apart from technical competency, the child should be emotionally ready to accept changes and deal with them.
Optimum nutrition helps in providing the overall balanced development of the child, in turn supporting the parents in their goal to prepare him for future success. Together with DHA, MFGM have been shown to support IQ & EQ development in children7,8.
- MFGM is now in children milk formulas!
This is great news for parents. Previously, MFGM has been largely lost in the production process of milk formula, but dairy technology now has made the enrichment of bovine MFGM technically feasible.
The addition of Milk Fat Globule Membrane (MFGM) to milk formulas is made possible through a breakthrough development in dairy processing.
- Kennedy et al. Basic principles of MRI and morphometry studies of human brain development. Developmental Science. 2002;5(3):268-278
- Vanderghem C et al. Milk fat globule membrane and buttermilks: from composition to valorization. Biotechnol. Agron. Soc. Environ. 2010;14(4): 485-500
- Le TT et al. Stability of milk fat globule membrane protein toward human enzymatic gastrointestinal digestion. J Dairy Sci. 2012;95(5):2307-18
- Schiller P. Early brain development research review and update. Exchange. 2010:26-30
- Palmano K et al. The role of gangliosides in neurodevelopment. Nutrients. 2015;7:3891-3913.
- Fonteh AN et al. Sphingolipid metabolism correlates with cerebrospinal fluid beta amyloid levels in Alzheimer’s disease. PLOS ONE | DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0125597
- Veereman-Wauters G et al. Milk fat globule membrane (INPULSE) enriched formula milk decreases febrile episodes and may improve behavioral regulation in young children. Nutrition. 2012;28:749-752.
- Montgomery, P. et al. Low Blood Long Chain Omega-3 Fatty Acids in UK Children Are Associated with Poor Cognitive Performance and Behavior: A Cross-Sectional Analysis from the DOLAB Study. 2013. PLoS ONE 8(6),